Album Review: Periphery - 'Periphery'

4 May 2010 | 8:01 pm | Staff Writer

Making their presence felt

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Every now and then, an album comes right out of left field and demands the listener’s attention. Not always because it is a definitive masterpiece but commonly because it has something to offer that differs from the myriad of bands that cultivate a bland and mundane musical style.

Debut self-titled album from Maryland sextet Periphery is surprising, unexpected and elaborate – essentially cut from the same cloth as its contemporary progressive metal peers. The music is creative, abstract and equally assured, exploring heavy metal’s musical spectrum.

At times, one could be forgiven for thinking Periphery are Meshuggah’s love child thanks to a carefully crafted dose of polyrhythms, heavy riffs and discordant musical structures. However, in other instances the similarities could not seem more distant, with the band preferring a lighter approach. Consequently, it is this balancing act of heavy abrasiveness and a melodic swagger that gives Periphery its musical charm.

The album’s opening trifecta; ‘Insomnia’, ‘The Walk’ and ‘Letter Experiment’ establish the band’s presence. Each is loud, fierce and driving, outlining Periphery’s influences, styles and overall agenda.

It is hard to judge this album on the merits of a debut release. Although this eponymous offering is number one in the Periphery catalogue, it is the result of a five-year tenure as a musical act. Couple this with a ‘revolving door’ type situation in regards to vocalists and we have an interesting little back-story.

‘Icarus Lives!’ begins with an endearing and almost southern rock feel before blending in to a predominant progressive style. It is certainly not the heaviest song on the album (in fact far from it) but still provides one of the more memorable moments. Other notable track, ‘Zyglrox’ positions itself at the heavier end of the group’s aural range.

Dissecting the album’s faults, there is some areas that tend to garner a tedious response. Or restated, certain songs fail to live up to the standards of others. Some tracks are thereabouts, or dare we say it ‘fillers’. However, the core is more than solid, and for a debut release that is all that really matters.

Do yourself a favour and get to the Dillinger Escape Plan gig early this month to give these guys the listen they well deserve.

The potential is self-evident, the blueprint clear, and the music precise. Periphery’s confidence is contagious on their debut release. Still work to be done but this will certainly do in the meantime.

1. Insomnia

2. The Walk

3. Letter Experiment

4. Jetpack was Yes!

5. Light

6. All New Materials

7. Buttersnips

8. Icarus Lives!

9. Totla Mad

10. Ow My Feelings

11. Zyglrox

12. Racecar

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